Talking Faith with a Salesman

[No date]
Another hard rain last night

My Dearest,

Lots of confusion around here. While I was getting ready for prayer meeting yesterday Dale Sowers [Fuller Brush sales guy?] came in – and talked and talked. He always brings up scripture and the sum of it was 1. Can the Bible be all true? 2. He believes Jesus is God’s Son – but not God. Sounds foolish to us that have always believed, but I can understand that.

What seemed to impress him most was just before he left he asked about your salary – not what it was, but what denomination paid it. When I told him how it was received he really gasped. “You mean – before I come back to deliver you will have to ask the Lord for enough for this?” I said that that was precisely what had happened the last time — and it came in the mail before he came!! “Now,” I said “Do you see why I can unreservedly believe the promises of the Bible as God’s word and true, and that Jesus is God?” But I sometimes feel his interest is insincere – just a good salesman. He actually sees no need of a Saviour.

As he left Danny came downstairs from his nap – with a case of diarrhea drooling all over the room. Just cleaned that up when David came in from school white as a sheet and dropped down sick. So I called up and said I couldn’t get to prayer meeting. David was back to normal this a.m. and went to school. Jimmy seems to be getting over the measles like it was the three day ones. Dorothy is up today. I’ve been mending.

Counting the days,
Nellie

It Amazes Me

Monday 4-23-57

My Dearest,

Time for another epistle to my beloved. I like to write to you, but sometimes I have trouble taking time to write so that it doesn’t sound like a hasty afterthought.

Your phone call Sat. night was a real treat, although I nearly broke my back to get to the phone. I was in the tub again! My feet were wet and I slipped on the floor. Dorothy was awake and I should have called for her to answer, but I thought I could get there just as soon. Funny, I can think of reams of talk when going around the house during the day, but I almost feel like I can’t think of anything worth saying when a long-distance call comes. I do hope that you are feeling better now. Much of it must be from being tired and burning the candle at both ends. We are praying for you and hope that you’ll feel better so that the last six weeks of this [school] year might be enjoyable ones for you.

Today Johnny’s temp dropped and his measles are a little lighter. He had the full dose — awful cough, eyes matted shut, and some earache. I expect that I’ll keep him home from school all this week. Dr. Fiegel said that it is contagious as long as there are any spots at all.

While Johnny was asleep yesterday I ran the youngsters into Sunday School and asked Roger Damer to bring them home, which he did. Then we didn’t go in the evening. Today because of school vacation, Dillon came out after the youngsters for Good News Club and then Mary Lou brought them home. I could have left Dorothy here with him, but they offered and I felt a little better. It seems that I have to leave them a lot more than I anticipated doing this year, as it is.

Those capsules the Dr. gave me for my appetite may help a little, although without self-control I could eat everything in sight. But they have certainly helped that dragged out feeling I’ve had for the last two or three months. I have been able to do an honest day’s work for a change. I’m so thankful because the work was getting so far behind that it seemed impossible. Ironing to do by the bushel, etc. You’ll have to try one when you get home!

We have had some sun and showers by turn today. it was cold this morning and because of Johnny I tried to make a fire. The thing didn’t really catch until later in the morning and now we are really warm in the house. We’ll have such changeable temperatures for a few weeks.

Did you see the Sword of the Lord recently – Rice’s ultimatum to Plymouth Brethren and Pete Fleming’s book? [Peter Fleming was one of the 5 missionaries killed in Ecuador a year before in 1956.] Also McClain had an article in that. I had already read it in the Missionary Herald.

The youngsters have really been playing on their Monopoly set – I bought it for them with the money that the folks sent.

David has been out with Marv again this morning — plowing and moving some fence posts. He lives for that and his main object to leaving here is Marvin. The other day, however, he voiced a real desire to have a boy his own age to play with. I with that could be so, but I don’t know who it would be around here.

I wanted to get this in the mail this morning, but when I thought I had time between washing and lunch, Johnny demanded some attention, it was for some lunch, and I was so glad to see him hungry that I hastened to prepare it. In those few seconds he dropped off to sleep and wouldn’t eat then! I know that he is feeling better because he wants so much more attention – “What can I do?” is the question.

I’ll close for now and perhaps get more written before mail time tomorrow morning. Je t’aime (tres) beaucoup. On the week before you get home, we really count the days off until your day. We say Friday to make it sound shorter although we all know it will be nearer Saturday when we will likely see you. It amazes me, when everything seems to count to that, only Danny seems to be able to show the love and affection he feels when you get here. I can’t quite figure out why, or the remedy. Self-conscious, I guess.

[to be continued the next day]

He Throws Off Trouble

[The last post (4/18) was out of order. This one, and the next, come before it.]

Monday, April 15, 1957

My Dearest,

This will likely be just another note as I have several irons in the fire and have to be at the Doctor’s office at 1:30.

The weather is so lovely. I have to mention it, although it got down to 11° last night. We must get the yard cleaned up.

Gertrude took the girls to the auditorium yesterday to hear the American Piano Trio. They got autographs on their program. I had to laugh — Dorothy went out without a hat and Gertrude wouldn’t take her that way!! Fortunately, Mrs. Wolcott had just given her one or she would have been out of luck.

Lennie Noss came out and said that John and Bill McPherson and Al had spent a long day at camp on Wednesday and poured all the footing for the new cabins – a huge day’s work donated. She brought me two M. [maternity] dresses – and has she ever lost weight. She looks grand.

David was home with a sore throat yesterday a.m. so we just went to S.S. [Sunday School] and only left him alone that long. By evening he felt good, so we all went. He is really healthy and throws off any trouble in a hurry.

I dread the ordeal this afternoon (at Dr’s).

Now I must get to work – washing. Wish I knew how the income tax was coming along. The youngsters want to drive down early Sunday (Easter) and come back Monday a.m. They have no school Friday or Monday. I’ll tackle it if you O.K. it and let me know by return mail. Lennie has asked us to dinner on Easter and I have to let her know. Would be wonderful to see you, but quite a trip for me and the car! Now I must sign off.

All my love,
Nellie

Measles

Thursday, 4-18-57

My Dearest John,

After yesterday’s sketchy note, I will try to do a little better today. I have three youngsters on the sofas in various stages of measles. Johnny causes me some concern as he has more fever and quite a cough with his. Margaret will soon be better and Jimmy is just starting a little fever. I take it for granted that he will be next. Dorothy stayed at home with them last night while we went to prayer meeting. I don’t feel quite right about leaving them, but I couldn’t get anyone to take the class. Not so many out either. Lots of sickness around.

Your reply certainly came back promptly. It came in Wednesday’s mail. A long time since service was so good. But as you have figured out, with the measles we’ll be staying home. Some of them may be better, but you never can tell when they will pop out on one of the other youngsters. I had hoped to plan a surprise for the youngsters and drive up to camp one of these days, but that is out, too.

I reported the furnace draft again, and Mr. Blanchard put another one on today. Because we have not had good draft there seems to be a lot of soot, so I’m going to buy some that stuff to clean that out.

Fluffy is getting huge – really wobbles around. She has been demoted to the porch again. She won’t stay in the house long because Danny won’t leave her alone and she is touchy.

You’ll have to buckle down and get your work caught up. Rather have a Hoyt reputation than a Bauman one, eh? A lot more satisfaction in the job done, also. Good thing that you are staying there because there is not much joy with sickly scrappy youngsters. The house gets a mess in a hurry. They are not sick enough to lie still and keep things in order. I guess that you know what it is like.

Millimans have changed to diesel tractors. Mrs. Milliman said that they figured they could save in fuel in three years the price of the tractors. Green John Deere’s.

I stopped taking the vitamin capsules, and take just the mineral tablets. Those vitamins seemed to increase my appetite, which is totally unnecessary. Dr. Fiegel told me to go ahead and diet and even gave me a prescription for capsules to take away my appetite. Everything seems to be O.K. with me. But I sure feel icky most days. I carried Danny too much on the weekend and hurt my back…so from now on he is walking on his own legs.

Almost forgot to tell you that he is progressing in this training business. “Big boy,” he says. But just part of the time now. He won’t let anyone sit on one of the dining room chairs at the end of the table in the kitchen. that is what you always use and he fights to save it for you!

Now I must get lunch. Tuna salad sandwiches. Only starch I’m supposed to have is one slice of bread each day. Leave eggs out too, unless I want just the white. Report cards came yesterday, but only Dorothy’s showed improvement. David brought one up and went down in two. I surely miss you and look forward to summer. We’ll be praying for you on Easter [4-21-57]. And we will surely miss you on that day. Love from all of us, me especially.

Nellie

It’s Convenient to Have $$

Saturday 4-13-57

My Dearest,

Your sweet letter came yesterday. I surely appreciate it and having you get the money here. With music lessons, eggs, etc. it is really convenient to have it.

Yesterday I heard on WMBI radio school of the Bible – Bill McDonald’s course on “Good News.”

As soon as the youngsters hear “Back to the Bible” we are going to town. A few bargains this week – sugar is one.

Psalm 37:5 [Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.] came to mind as I am praying about this summer. We need to also be concerned about deciding in time so that others concerned will not be inconvenienced.

The ground is white with frost every morning. We still haven’t gotten outside to clean up.

Margaret is OK today. David has a sore throat. We played checkers last night. They can beat me without much trouble!

I’ll close now and try to get a letter off the first of the week. Guess I shouldn’t write on the back of this paper; rather hard to read. Thanks again for writing – I surely appreciate each letter from you!

All my love,
Nellie

Patience and Perseverance

Monday 4-8-57

My Dearest:

It was just this morning that we said good-bye but I’m going to start out a little better than last time and get at least a little note off to you. I just finished a letter to my folks. I hadn’t written since they called me, so I did that.

I can’t imagine how tired you must feel – I’m weary and you must be just so much more so. I did listen to the radio and it sounded as though the most snow you had was here and that it got less going west. Bill M. said that it was about two inches there, and I know it was all of four inches on the car this morning.

David went off to school without his books, his gym shorts, and called to ask me to bring them in. I refused at first, but he called again and I guess Mrs. Rerick had scolded him and he seemed about in tears, so I broke down and took them in.

Most of the snow is off the trees now, but it is not melting as quickly as I thought it would. It is staying down around freezing.

Jimmy asked if he could buy a record player, so he could listen to the children’s stories record. Danny crawled out of his bed, looked for you, then hustled down to look for the record player and for your car. He concluded that you had really gone to Oak Park this time. Yesterday afternoon he wasn’t sure, but really cried his heart out that you were gone. [Our family had one portable record player. Evidently my dad took it with him at his teaching job, but brought it home on weekend visits.]

Did you find your Mother there or had she gone to St. Louis? With that she could come up here now, but I know that is impossible.

And was Dean ready, have you heard more from him, and did you get to school on time? ‘Nuff asked. I expect that you would answer all those things when you write, even if I didn’t ask — but, being me, I ask the questions and wait for the answers.

We will be praying as a family, and I will try to set aside time to pray for the work of the summer. Whichever, or whatever, if we know that it is His place, we know that He will help us to do the work required.

Jimmy is out fixing a sandwich for his lunch and I had better go help him out a little. He’ll get enough but Danny won’t fare so well. However, he doesn’t look underfed!

Thanks so much for taking care of the checkbook. And I feel awful about the income tax being thrown in your lap. As a help-meet I seem to leave all the work to you. But though I don’t do my share, I do love you, and your patience and perseverance does inspire me to work harder and more carefully. Take care of yourself and I hope you can get more rest these next few weeks. Now I must close.

All my love,
Nellie

[All Nellie’s letters to John can be found by searching Mom’s Letters.]

A Whale of a Lot of Ironing Done

Monday
April 1, 1957

My Dearest John,

How do you like the new ribbon? [VERY MUCH!] Really makes a difference, eh? And how about the way your wife has been treating you this past week? I’m really sorry for neglecting you so, and I should have taken time to write, but I have really kept busy during the day and I’m not much good at night. It was so good to get your letter last Friday – you are so much busier than I am; I surely appreciate the time you take to write.

Last Monday I started right in ironing in order to get your shirts in the mail – they are still on the ironing board. the electricity went off for about an hour and when it came on the furnace draft would not work at all. Mr. Hawkins was out working on the shed, so I told him about it. Then, before he got to work on it, it did start working again – like it had been. But I didn’t stop him from working on it because it was inconvenient to not have the check draft working. Mr. Blanchard worked with him trying to put one of the second hand ones on. But by night time they had not gotten anywhere, and by the end of Tuesday they decided they would have to buy a new one. On Thursday they put in a new one, but by Friday I decided that it was not working at all, so I reported that. They went in town again, and discovered that they had it wired wrong, and now it is working. Having them in and out all that time slowed me down as far as getting things done. I did get a pair of pajamas made for Dorothy and a whale of a lot of ironing and mending done, but I am not yet caught up.

Mrs. Bogen called and asked me to come to a Stanley party [a direct sales company connected with Fuller Brush], so Friday afternoon was gone in that fashion. They always want you to have a party at your house, but I draw the line there. [Good call, Mom!]

And by Saturday they moved the shed, and it has taken time to try to get our stuff squared away that was in there. A lot of that must still be done and I don’t know what we will do with all of it.

Jimmy and Danny are sitting here making sure that I tell you about the shed. We cut four heads of hair on Saturday. I told Margaret to take hers down and brush it good before washing it. Well, she did and wandered out to the kitchen where David was making some frosting and offered to hold the beater for him … and somehow got her hair caught in the electric beater. David had the presence of mind to shut the beater off. It pulled a lot of hair out – leaving a strip like a wide part that is bald on her head. The beaters pushed into her head right by the scar she has and made a good egg. All I could think of was the story in the newspaper of a women getting her hair caught in a washing machine wringer and dying from it.

Dave said he talked to you about camp this summer – but he didn’t say whether for or against, although his manner indicated that they wanted us. Is that right? Any decisions? I’ve been so curious. Good for me to have to wait and learn a little patience.

Danny’s cold isn’t any better. I don’t know what to do about the meetings this week. The older ones want to go, but I know that I shouldn’t take the younger ones out.

Our income tax presents a problem. It looks as if we will have to pay about $80. We wouldn’t have to pay any if we had kept track of where the Lord’s money went. But if you claim more than 10% deduction, you have to itemize where it goes. We didn’t keep any track until you went to Emmaus. And a lot went to individuals that can’t be deducted unless going through the right channels. Unless they accept commended persons [e.g. missionaries] as eligible. Our medical deductions don’t come much above 3% of our income. I talked to Leland and he said unless a person uses checks there is no way of verifying what is even given to the Chapel in case they want to check up. We have to get this in soon.

If you haven’t ordered the waffle iron yet, maybe you hadn’t better do it. I’ve had $22 given me for my birthday, each one specifying that I was to get something for myself. I don’t know what I want. Nothing actually. but I’ve about decided that I’d like to save it towards a washing machine when we get moved. I can’t think of anything that would help me more next fall with a lot of baby wash added to the present load. I know that this is only a drop in the bucket towards that, but it won’t hurt to start saving.

Now I’ll sing off – I mean sign. If you come home you will miss seeing your folks on Saturday. I sent them a letter but I’m sure that they didn’t get it before leaving.

April 1st — only two more months of school. It seems like it has been a long year in lots of respects, and then again I’m surprised at how quickly the time has gone by. At any rate it will be wonderful to have you home again. I surely have missed you and it is hard to keep the right balance in the home when they all look to me for everything, and we’ll probably have some stormy times for awhile when we start living together again. But even though the children storm sometimes, they like to know what you want and expect when their feelings are really known.

Danny says, “Let’s eat.” So I will stop and take care of my boys. We all love you and continue to pray for you and your work.

Nellie